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Report: Grizzlies reach deal with veteran center Noah

From NBA Twitter and media reports

Former All-Star and 2014 Kia Defensive Player of the Year winner Joakim Noah is headed back to the league.

Per The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Memphis Grizzlies have agreed to a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal with Noah. He is expected to travel to Memphis on Sunday and sign his deal early next week.

A week ago, The New York Times‘ Marc Stein reported that the Grizzlies were in talks with Noah in hopes of signing him.

The New York Knicks waived the 33-year-old center Noah in mid-October. He had two years and $37.8 million remaining on his contract.

Noah had been away from the team since clashing with former coach Jeff Hornacek last season, when he appeared in just seven games. The Knicks had already decided he wouldn’t rejoin the club under new coach David Fizdale but were hoping they could find a long shot trade to get something back for him without having to cut him.

The New York native signed with his hometown team in 2016 and drew a loud ovation in his first appearance at Madison Square Garden, where he was introduced as being from the Hell’s Kitchen section of the city, rather than from Florida, the team he helped win two NCAA championships.

The Chicago Bulls selected him with the ninth overall pick in the 2007 draft. He had great years with the Bulls, highlighted by being voted Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-NBA in 2014.

But Noah had begun battling injuries and already was in decline by the time former Knicks President Phil Jackson gave him a $72 million, four-year contract, and Noah could never regain his old form. His first season in New York ended early when he was suspended 20 games by the NBA in March 2017 for a failed drug test, a suspension that carried into the 2017-18 season.

He was unable to regain his rotation spot once he was eligible to return and didn’t play again following his argument with Hornacek after playing 4+ minutes in a loss at Golden State on Jan. 23.

Noah finished with an average of 4.6 points and 7.9 rebounds with New York. His $18.6 million salary for this season will count fully against the salary cap and the Knicks can stretch out the remainder of his salary over multiple seasons.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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